OIA West basketball preview
'Aiea towers over the competition
By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer
'Aiea's twin towers of Aritta Lane and Keesha Aldridge should pose double-trouble for teams in the O'ahu Interscholastic Association Western Division this season.
Lane is 5 feet 11 and Aldridge is 6-1. Both are seniors, and were named OIA West second-team all-stars last season.
"Aritta is very athletic," 'Aiea coach Fran Villarmia-Kahawai said. "The thing that throws people off is she's left-handed. When she gets into a game she can be unstoppable."
Aldridge is more consistent, focused and aggressive this season, said Villarmia-Kahawai.
Lane has signed to play for Fresno State.
Villarmia-Kahawai, who played for the University of Hawai'i from 1988-91, thinks Lane will fare well in college.
"I think she will do fine," she said. "When I saw her as a sophomore, I knew she could play Division I."
Na Ali'i ended Kamehameha's 34-game winning streak with a 48-41 preseason victory on March 4. Aldridge scored 20 points, Lane 18 and point guard Kylee Nakamura 10.
"I've read they've been doing good in the paper," said Radford coach Kekoa Ng. "They have a pretty good point guard and two big players who are quick."
After defeating Kamehameha, 'Aiea competed in a Las Vegas preseason tournament and won both of its games.
"They were taller than us," Villarmia-Kahawai said. "We were able to adjust and get the ball into the post and handle their pressure."
Leilehua, Radford and Mililani could also contend in the OIA West.
Leilehua's Buzz Vasper was named West Coach of the Year after leading the Mules to a fourth-place finish in the OIA championship tournament.
His top players are sisters Charlotte (5-8, senior) and Heidi Garcia (5-8, junior).
Radford is led by its backcourt of Heather Massey (5-6, junior) and Kiesa Jones (5-7, senior).
Mililani's top players are seniors Uheina Tuihalafatai (5-10, center) and Anuhea Diamond (5-7, guard).